Thursday, 31 October 2019

A ‘Scheer’ conservative conundrum

Despite the fact that the Conservative party under Andrew Scheer won more seats and the popular vote, they were unable to form a majority government. Do we need a new leader or a change in policies?
The last election was devoid of debate on the real issues. All parties had their agenda defined by a climate change narrative which has become the basis for economic as well as social debates. The left has used rhetoric branding every conservative policy as far right and therefore against Canadian values. Identity politics has become the main starting point for any debate. Political correctness defines what and how governments should create and implement policies. In that environment it is very difficult for a conservative leader to express himself without being seen as being a bigot, a xenophobe and be branded by other disparaging epithets.
Well before the last election, the Liberals helped by the media and the education system have been able to fashion the Conservative party to their image. Increasingly conservatives have been forced to move further to the left. For a long time the party was known as the Progressive Conservative party. Progressive means moving to the left, adopting many of the principles opposite to true conservative principles. A small ‘c’ conservative used to believe in limited government, the free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility an empowerment to solve problems. In this election, none of these principles were articulated and supported in the campaign.
I did not support Andrew Scheer in the leadership race. Not because I disliked him but because of his previous position in government. In Canada it is the Speaker's responsibility to manage the House of Commons and supervise its staff. It is also the Speaker's duty to act as a liaison with the Senate and the Crown. His role was to be fair and impartial and therefore, in my view this position did not prepare him to be a leader but rather one of conciliator, and his campaign style proved that he was unable to put forward the party’s right to govern, In a climate where the previous government and its leader had been found to be deficient in many areas, Scheer was unable or perhaps unwilling to attack his opponents. In fact he allowed himself to be attacked on his social views and his citizenship.
Under Scheer’s leadership the party did not differentiate itself enough to win the large cities electorate and more women voters. Economic policies were not articulated properly and used the old boutique taxation policies. Climate change which was a main electoral issue was not addressed properly with clearly defined policies and was left to a Swedish juvenile to dictate how adults should vote. There was no attack on the Prime Minister’s ethical and contemptuous behavior.
Scheer never addressed Quebec’s Bill 21, which banned religious symbols. This Bill which many found to be of a racist nature was never contrasted with attacks on his religious belief. He was attacked for not attending a Pride Parade, by no other than a former Conservative operative. The question is when did attending a parade become a prerequisite to be Prime Minister? Especially when the organizers of such a parade have banned organizations from taking part when they wanted to do so. Freedom of speech today is defined only by the left, and Scheer did not protect this right. Hate speech should never be condoned, but we should not allow others to define us through accusations of bias and bigotry when no such thing is being imposed. The Conservative Party of Canada abides by past laws and has never stopped defending them. In a democracy we still have the right to have beliefs without infringing on other people’s beliefs.
The conundrum for the Conservative Party is not whether they should choose a new leader, but rather what it stands for in the future.  A change in leadership does not require a change in individual or personality, but rather requires a change in beliefs and policies. Does the party believe in progressive ideas or does it go back to true conservative principles as mentioned above? More importantly once that determination has been made, does the party find someone who can articulate and defend these principles?
The party has some months to ponder these questions, the membership should clearly think about the country as a whole and decide whether the Conservative party is prepared to unite the country or leave it to the left to continue their policies of division to get re-elected.

Friday, 25 October 2019

2019 Canadian Elections- Post Mortem

On October 21, 2019, Canadians decided to elect a minority Liberal government, despite the failures of four years under a Trudeau leadership. The Liberal Party got fewer votes and seats than when they started the campaign. They have but one seat in Saskatchewan and Alberta, and yet in his first speech Trudeau said that he had a mandate. It is time to evaluate where the country goes from here.
For the past four years the country has been mired in a political division created by a vacuous and arrogant Prime Minister. He chose to lecture us about his ideology and went around the world dressed as a peacock to garner votes for a seat at the United Nations. All the while he ignored some basic principles of government, working for the good of the country. His policies based on a desire to placate environmentalist helped to destroy the main industry of two provinces –Alberta and Saskatchewan. Pandering to a constituency, too often misinformed and misguided, Trudeau proceeded in imposing a carbon tax that was unpopular, and costs jobs while doing everything possible to prevent the construction of a pipeline that would see the export of oil to Asia. The climate change policies of the government created massive unemployment in Alberta and alienated a whole population that was already aggrieved by his father’s policy of the National Energy Program. He succeeded to nationalize the Trans Mountain pipeline by purchasing it, and thus gaining full control.
The whole electoral campaign was a dud. All parties had no real policies but produced some of the worst rhetoric based around the so-called climate change. Economic and social policies were all based on a desire to limit Green House Gases. In fact the politicians may have produced more hot air than anything else. The Conservatives who had the wind behind their backs never got the electorate enthused about their platform. Andrew Scheer never used an attack strategy but in fact found himself defending some of his positions on social issues and his citizenship. He never defended his religious beliefs and values. When challenged; he never asked Canadians when and how attending a pride parade became a prerequisite to be a Prime Minister?
The combined left made up of the Liberals, Greens, the Bloc and NDP, campaign around the environmental issues, mainly the opposition to fossil fuel and in fact against the West, excluding British Columbia. Based on the campaign it is no surprise that the results were what they are. – a minority Liberal government. Despite claims that the first past the post system is to blame, the fact remains that the Liberals won because of the votes in Ontario, and the rise of the Bloc in Quebec.  It seems that Ontarians are shallow in their voting choices, albeit perhaps that they are misinformed or totally oblivious about economic principles, and the fact that Trudeau was found guilty of ethics breaches, and obstruction of justice. Quebec voters, on the other hand, are in my view the savviest electorate in the country. Quebec does not vote for the country they vote for what is best for them, and them alone. They benefit from and equalization system which is outdated and claim that they should receive more or they will separate from Canada. This separation sword of Damocles is now being touted to be the strategy that should be employed by the Western provinces; Wexit is in the making.   
Personally, I am not a separatist, because it does not make sense. The population of Canada is too small and a western nation will not have the economic base to sustain prosperity. We are a land locked region, and will require access for our trade. But given the first statement made by Trudeau I can see western alienation growing. His idea that he is going to reach to Mayors to represent him in the west is a preposterous and arrogant one. He must have forgotten that municipalities are the responsibility of provinces. To name Mayor Nenshi of Calgary as one of his possible helpers ignores the fact that the Mayor has become one of the most unpopular politicians in Calgary. While they share the same characteristics of arrogance and entitlement, in my opinion if Trudeau wants to offer an olive branch, he may have just made another mistake. For Nenshi, who has been searching for an exit to higher status, this may be what he is looking for, and to Calgarians it will be a fortuitous deliverance.
The country is about to see a move to the left never seen before, even under Pierre Trudeau. Conservatives need a leader that can articulate the needs of a Nation not that of provinces. Climate change is a reality, but it should not be used for wealth redistribution. If we want to reduce GHG by means of a carbon tax, the policy must be based on a change in behavior and the use of revenues not to penalize but to incentivize people towards a greener future.
Conservatives as the official opposition, must be very vigilant about coalitions between the NDP, Greens and Bloc. Just like eight years of Obama left the country deeply divided. Trudeau has done the same in four years. His rhetoric continues despite his loss. His arrogance will determine his policies; therefore the opposition must focus on attack instead of defense. The next election may not be too far. To be effective the CPC must go back to small ‘c’ conservative principles. That is the only winning strategy.